Million Dollar Monet Recovered After 9 Years

Claude Monet, Beach in Pourville
Claude Monet's oil painting "Plage de Pourville" (1882) was recovered this week after being stolen from Poland's National Museum of Poznan in September 2000.

WARSAW — French Impressionist Claude Monet's 1882 oil painting Plage de Pourville has returned home to Poland after being stolen more than nine years ago. A spokesman for the Poznan police told the AFP that the artwork "had been kept in a good condition" and "hasn't suffered any visible damage."

The Monet painting depicts a beach in Pourville, a small village on the Normandy coast of France, where the artist often found inspiration. In September 2000, the artwork was on view  at the National Museum of Poznan in western Poland; it was the only Monet  in the country on public display.

The suspect allegedly cut the original painting from its frame and replaced it with a copy painted on cardboard. Investigators say he had been seen sketching in the museum galleries just two days before committing the crime.

Plage de Pourville was valued at an estimated $1 million at the time of the theft, but a museum official told the press, "to us it was a priceless masterpiece."

Fingerprints and other evidence helped police to identify the thief, who later confessed to the crime. Identified only as Robert Z., the 41-year-old suspect was arrested Tuesday in the southern Polish city of Olkusz. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.


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